38.6 million Gulf acres up for grabs in June lease sale
Oil and gas companies have until June 19 to file their bids for the government's upcoming auction of drilling leases in the central Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department announced today. The Houston Chronicle reports as many as 7,276 blocks covering about 38.6 million acres will be up for grabs in the sale to be conducted at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on June 20. The auction will mark the final sale in an existing five-year Bush-era plan for leasing the outer continental shelf, which ends on June 30. The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management offered up details on the auction in a final notice of sale today. BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau says the auction will give oil and gas companies fresh access "to a number of world-class producing basins, including many in deepwater areas that are becoming increasingly accessible with new technology." The acreage on the auction block includes areas ranging from three miles to 230 miles offshore, with water depths up to roughly 11,115 feet in the central Gulf of Mexico. According to the ocean energy bureau's estimates, the region contains close to 31 billion barrels of oil and 134 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that are undiscovered but technically recoverable. The auction constitutes a combination of two planned sales that were delayed by required environmental reviews following the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
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